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Where to Stay in Edinburgh in 2024 | Best Areas & Hotels

Where to Stay in Edinburgh in 2024 | Best Areas & Hotels

The city of Edinburgh wears its history with pride. The capital of Scotland is a mixture of medieval and Georgian architecture that simultaneously carries the vibrant energy of the area’s rich history and oozes culture and charm.

If you like cities that seamlessly blend the old and the new, visiting Edinburg can be a truly unforgettable experience. So read on to find out where to stay in Edinburgh and what to do when you get there!

The 3 Best Places to Stay in Edinburgh

Where to Stay in Edinburgh map in vector format featuring the best areas of town

Edinburgh is not among Europe’s largest cities, but it sure packs a punch. It has something for everyone — medieval architecture, museums, world-class universities, and amazing pub culture that will win over the pickiest traveler.

Check out the three main areas we chose where you can stay in Edinburgh and be close to all the important sights and the best pubs:

  1. Old Town: The perfect choice for tourists who’d like to explore Edinburgh’s medieval past and get lost in its cobbled streets where there’s a traditional pub waiting at every corner.
  2. New Town: Ideal neighborhood for exploring the city’s modern Georgian architecture, as well as enjoying upscale restaurants and staying at more expensive hotels. Also, great for people who want to be surrounded by lots of urban greenery and parks.
  3. Leith: This hip area by the Old Port has tons of cool places you can visit to recharge. Also great for people looking for cool, alternative spots in the city. Here you can also enjoy excellent seafood restaurants by the waterfront and go bar hopping.

Where to Stay in Edinburgh: Best Areas & Hotels

Scotland’s capital is a truly captivating city that seems to beg to be discovered. It’s a small capital that offers a warm welcome to tourists with its mysterious, old-time charm and the creative chaos of modern city life.

Edinburgh’s Old Town core is a historic district that dates back centuries. It comprises the very heart of the city, and its medieval architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, and iconic landmarks make it a very desirable accommodation option.

If you want to immerse yourself in this city’s history and culture, this is where you want to stay. From budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels, it offers, by far, the best accommodation options out of all the areas we’ll be covering today.

The New Town is adjacent to Old Town. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s a very desirable residential and central area of Edinburgh.

Packed with elegant Georgian architecture, it stands in stark contrast with the medieval charm of Old Town.

Accommodation options in New Town are similar to Old Town, mostly comprised of upper-midrange and luxury hotels. And then there’s Leith, the hip, rebellious part of Edinburgh, situated on its north side.

It has a distinct character as a former port area, and nowadays, it offers a creative and eclectic atmosphere where you can find a thriving culinary scene alongside numerous seafood restaurants, as well as LGBTQ-friendly trendy bars and cafes.

Accommodation options in Leith are not as varied or as frequent as in the Old and New Towns and are mostly within the mid to luxury price range.

Each area — Old Town, New Town, and Leith — has its own unique appeal, and the choice of accommodation depends on your budget and the experiences you seek.

1. Edinburgh Old Town

Photo of cars lining the stone street in Cowgate in Old Town, one of the best areas to stay when in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland – April 27, 2017: Victoria street a medieval street in Edinburgh that connects to the Grassmarket. popular tourist attraction and shopping precinct. Edinburgh, Scotland UK/Jpbarcelos/Shutterstock

The old core of modern Edinburgh, Old Town, has retained a large part of its medieval streets and Reformation-era buildings to this day, making it a delight to stroll through.

If you can picture ancient architecture, narrow lanes, cobblestone streets, and an abundance of pubs and live music joints when you think of Edinburgh, this is where you’ll find them.

Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the King’s official Scottish residence, are some of the most noteworthy attractions in the Old Town.

They’re connected by the Royal Mile, the main roadway in this part of the city, comprised of a succession of streets, that got its name for being the traditional route of monarchs in ages past.

The Royal Mile, alongside Princes Street in Edinburgh’s New Town, is the busiest tourist street in the city. The Old Town is home to some of the best traditional pubs, such as the Devil’s Advocate and Sheep Heid Inn.

Foodies and tourists searching for craft shops and independent boutiques should visit the Grassmarket area within this neighborhood.

For a proper night out in Edinburgh, visit the Cowgate, which is home to bars, nightclubs, and, in general, plenty of places to hear live music, including the well-known live music venue Sneaky Pete’s.

And if the hustle and bustle of the Old Town ever get too much, you can get lost in the vast expanses of Holyrood Park, a 640-acre hilly park adjacent to the Holyrood Residence. Within the park, you can easily climb the peak of the extinguished volcano Arthur’s Seat for breathtaking views of the city.

Accommodation in the Old Town is generally expensive because it’s one of the most central areas of Edinburgh. Most of the accommodation options range between mid-range and luxury hotels.

Old Town Budget Hotels

  • CoDE Pod – The CoURT is a hostel situated in the heart of Old Town, less than a mile away from Edinburgh Castle, and very close to attractions like the Royal Mile and the National Museum of Scotland. The rooms are shared in dormitory style. The hostel provides a 24-hour front desk, and there’s also breakfast every morning for those of you who want to start the day with enough fuel.
  • High Street Hostel is another hostel located in the center of Old Town. It’s set in a building from the 16th century, just a few streets off the Royal Mile. It offers single-sex and mixed dormitories with shared bathrooms. There’s free Wi-Fi in the lobby and storage for bikes and luggage. There’s a self-service kitchen if you want to cook and save some money on food. There’s also a party lounge with a pool table, making it a great place if you want to socialize with other travelers during your hostel stay.

Old Town Mid-Range Hotels

  • ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge – Royal Mile is а great three-star budget hotel in the center of Old Town. You’re maybe already familiar with the ibis hotel brand — a budget-friendly, but comfortable option for the frequent traveler. Rooms have private bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, a TV, and tea and coffee facilities. Edinburgh Castle and Grassmarket are only 9 minutes walking distance, while Holyrood Park is 15 minutes away.
  • Cityroomz Edinburgh is a three-star hotel just a few miles from Prince’s Street, on the edge of Old Town. It’s a good value-for-your-money option; all rooms have free Wi-Fi, TV, a private bathroom, and city views.

Old Town Luxury Hotels

  • The Witchery is a classy (but also pretty expensive) five-star hotel near Princes Street Gardens. Staying in this hotel will make you feel like a late 18th-century monarch or possibly a Romantic writer like Shelley or Byron. Come for the aristocratic feel, stay for the hearty breakfast  — included in the price!
  • Waldorf Astoria is a five-star hotel right next to Princes Street. If you’re looking for luxury, this hotel will deliver — it offers an indoor swimming pool, spa, sauna, gym, modern leisure club, stunning views of Edinburgh Castle, and an award-winning restaurant called Grazing.

See All Hotels in Edinburgh

2. Edinburgh New Town

Photo of the road going down into an underground parking garage for a shopping center for a piece on the best areas to stay in Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland – 11 August 2018: Princes Street, one of the major street in central town, main shopping street in the capital/Tomasz Wozniak/Shutterstock

Standing in sharp contrast to the Old Town’s medieval winding streets and alleys with its more modern open grid layout, New Town offers tourists another perspective of Edinburgh.

The neighborhood embodies the Georgian architecture style that was popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a response to the city’s explosive population growth and the need for more housing.

New Town is the perfect place for those who want to experience an exciting fusion of dining, shopping, and modern architectural styles without ever leaving the city center.

The famous Princes Street is a must-see for visitors, especially shopping enthusiasts, because of the abundance of household names, luxury retailers, and independent local boutiques. Adjacent to it is Princes Street Gardens, a beautiful public park in the middle of the city.

And if that’s what floats your boat, this neighborhood offers yet another serene oasis near the park called St. Andrew Square Garden.

It’s a beautiful little haven in the middle of the busy city center where you get to collect your thoughts and stroll in quiet, enjoying the plants and flowers. The Square also serves as a venue for numerous events all year long, such as the Film Fest in the City.

The combination of broad sidewalks and streets with lush, green public areas is unique to this part of town and has its own kind of beauty that blends the urban with the natural.

Some of Edinburgh’s hippest and most exciting shops, cocktail bars, eateries, and cafes are located in the New Town. One example is The Standing Order, a former bank building converted into a popular, hip pub.

The accommodation types and prices in New Town are similar to the Old Town, although there are fewer budget hotels. Here, you can find mostly mid-range to upper-mid-range and luxury hotels.

New Town Budget Hotels

  • CoDE Co-Living – The LoFT is a hostel-type of accommodation just a short walk from Princes Street. It offers dormitory-style rooms with shared bathrooms. There’s also a shared kitchen if you want to save money by not eating out, as well as a communal area where you can unwind after a long day of exploring the city. Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town are just 15 minutes away from the hostel by foot.
  • Edinburgh Central Youth Hostel is a hostel found less than a mile from Princes Street and Edinburgh Rail Station. While you can cook your own breakfast in a shared kitchen area, the hostel also has a lovely cafe and restaurant on its premises. Most rooms are dormitories for six people and have shared bathrooms. But you can also ask for a triple room with a private bathroom.

New Town Mid-Range Hotels

  • Parliament House Hotel is a three-star hotel in the city center, next to Princes Street. All rooms have a private bathroom, free Wi-Fi, a TV, and a minibar. Staying here gives you access to a traditional bistro that serves Scottish breakfast each morning. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can also ask for a continental breakfast.
  • Britannia Edinburgh Hotel is a three-star hotel located just 15 minutes away from Princes Street. Rooms have free Wi-Fi, a TV, and a private bathroom. Guests can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the hotel’s on-site restaurant.

New Town Luxury Hotels

  • The Balmoral Hotel is a five-star luxury hotel in a building from 1902 near Princes Street. Named after the famous Balmoral Castle, the hotel offers true aristocratic luxury. It has an indoor pool, gym, sauna, spa, and spacious rooms with marble bathrooms, but its actual selling point is its marvelous views of Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town.
  • Gleneagles Townhouse is a five-star hotel on St Andrew’s Square. It has a fitness, spa, and wellness center, concierge services, and a 24-hour available desk. The rooms are super-classy, and decorated with antique furniture. The hotel has a bar and restaurant serving British and Scottish cuisine. Breakfast is included in the price.

See All Hotels in Edinburgh

3. Leith

Water running along the walkway in one of our top picks for where to stay in Edinburgh, the Leith area

Whitney Hubbell/Shutterstock

Leith is one of the most diverse, exciting, and modern neighborhoods in Edinburgh.

It’s perfect if you want to do bar hopping, since the area is full of waterfront bars and pubs like Teuchters Landing and Roseleaf Bar Cafe, and breweries like Innis & Gunn Leith Brewery Taproom and Moonwake Beer Co.Brewery & Taproom.

It’s a hip and diverse area of Edinburgh that’s both edgy and relatable.

On the streets of Leith you can see young creatives, families, and old locals forever in love with the neighborhood — a mix that embodies Leith’s quirky but immensely attractive vibe, something that you can’t find as easily in Old and New Town.

Leith Walk is a great place to start your exploration of this area. It’s the main shopping district that leads to Leith’s waterfront part.

You can find plenty of interesting stores there that sell vintage clothes, like the Epoca Vintage Clothing Shop, or wine by the case like Majestic Wine, as well as countless cafes and international food restaurants (Syrian, Mexican, Mediterranean  — you name it!).

Because Leith encompasses a large area from Edinburgh’s waterfront, it has a strong maritime history. One of the biggest attractions is the Royal Yacht Britannia, while the area is also known for the historic port on the Firth of Forth, a fjord and an important conservation site.

Unlike Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns, Leith doesn’t have too many accommodation options. Most of them are in the mid-range, while budget and luxury options are pretty rare.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, it’s better to stay somewhere else and then come to Leith for walks and bar hopping on the waterfront.

Leith Budget Hotels

  • Adelphi Hotel is a two-star hotel in a Georgian townhouse. It’s a bit far from the center, but it’s a perfect choice for those who plan to go to Edinburgh by car. You get a mid-range hotel for the price of a budget one. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, a TV, and panoramic views from Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat, which is a 30-minute walk from the hotel.
  • A-Haven Townhouse Hotel is a two-star hotel with free parking and Wi-Fi in the lounge area. The rooms have en suite bathrooms. Couples seem to particularly like this place because they rated it really highly on Booking.

Leith Mid-Range Hotels

  • Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh – Leith Waterfront is a three-star hotel offering everything you need for a comfortable stay in Scotland. For instance, there’s free Wi-Fi in all the rooms, air conditioning, coffee and tea-making facilities, and a private bathroom. If you’re a freelancer or a digital nomad, there’s also a work desk for your laptop.
  • Ocean Mist Leith is a four-star hotel near Edinburgh’s Old Port. It’s a beautiful hotel decorated in maritime fashion that’ll make you feel like you’re on a ship, minus the claustrophobia. All rooms are air-conditioned and have free Wi-Fi, a terrace, and a private bathroom. If you want breakfast, the hotel offers a continental breakfast and a buffet each morning.

Leith Luxury Hotels

  • Malmaison Edinburgh is a four-star hotel located on the banks of the Leith River. It has a gym, free parking, and a stylish bar. The hotel is well connected with Edinburgh’s center, perfect if you want to explore the city on foot. The rooms are spacious and have free Wi-Fi, TV, and private bathrooms. The hotel’s restaurant serves classic British cuisine made with local produce.

See All Hotels in Edinburgh

Book Your Trip to Edinburgh Today!

The picturesque skyline of Edinburgh seen on an cloudy-sky evening from the top of Calton Hill

Gaid Kornsilapa/Shutterstock

You should decide where to stay in Edinburgh based on your preferences and the experience you seek. Old Town, New Town, and Leith each have a unique charm.

🏰 Most Historic AreaOld Town
🥂 Most Luxurious AreaNew Town
🍽️ Best for Shopping & DiningLeith

As you can see, there’s something for everybody in Edinburgh. It’s up to you to choose and enjoy your stay there. So what are you waiting for — book your trip to Edinburgh today to see for yourself all this city has to offer!